The Alienation Effect in A Room of One's Own

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The Alienation-Effect in A Room of One’s Own “But,” Woolf starts A Room of One’s Own, “you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction — what, has that got to do with a room of one’s own?” (3). This opening is the interruption to a thought that we didn’t hear; it is part of a speech that we aren’t in the audience for. The reader has barely ventured into the text, and already he is left disoriented. Instead of introducing her reader to her argument, Woolf immediately and intentionally puts this reader at odds with her work. These lines do not comfortably introduce her thinking; they charge us with the task of both discovering and analyzing the argument that Woolf plans to make — there is no room for the passive reader here. Throughout the text, Woolf works to estrange the audience from becoming emotionally involved in the text by taking that which is familiar and making it strange. The estrangement that is used in the text isn’t unique to Woolf’s work (CITE THIS SHIT), but the way she purposefully uses it in A Room of One’s Own is worth noting. Woolf works to alienate her reader from the argument she makes in order to reevaluate the social structures at work behind her argument; she makes the argument that women writers need money and room of their own to be successful writers, but, through her alienation of the reader, she also wants them to incite political change through them. In this way, Woolf’s alienation becomes Brechtian in nature. Although Room
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